Say it Proud So What if She’s Loud
Muhammad Ali never got anywhere by whispering, I am the greatest.
The Godfather of soul James Brown didn’t inspire with “Say it softly I’m Black and I’m Proud”.
Marcus Garvey didn’t say Hush you mighty race.
So why are the ads of one party in the Jamaican Election race trying to suggest that loud is lame?
In Jamaica’s election campaign the youth arms of both parties the ruling Jamaica Labour Party’s G2K and the Peoples National Party’s Youth Organisation, PNPYO are battling it out in the electronic media with a series of political ads.
Perhaps they are throwing low blows at each other in a game of who is the worst bad mind. These ads about attitude and posture are scoring dubious points rather than talking about the policies or the future of the country those are far too important things to be properly discussed, this is after all politics.
Negative ads in political campaigns are nothing new, outrageous claims and name calling are par for the coarse.
If people in the U.S. can call Obama the anti-Christ and a Nazi you know politicking goes low, low, low when things get hot, hot, hot. Freedom of speech can be a pain when it’s your arse they’re after.
However I’m not sure that negatives work that well. Barack is evidence of that he won despite having a name , Obama sounds like Osama and a middle name, Hussein sounds like and is the same as Hussein as in Saddam, there’s a lesson in there. Nothing wrong with being negative, after all what would us, who trend to melancholy and pessimism preoccupy ourselves with.
In Jamaica some of the same people that decry the dancehall deejays and the insults contained in their lyrics in the name of Gully or Gaza seem to have little problem with the tracing in the political ad campaigns. The political ad hacks are doing a grand job of attacking each other’s candidates and parties with electronic editing and sleight of hand, but it must be said they have great material to work with.
G2K, has a range of ads but it is the negative ads and those about opposition leader Portia Simpson Miller that have aroused most interest.
I ‘m sure she’s not that bothered by it, I have no reason to worry about her crumpling up in a corner fretting about the bad things they say and the embarrassing video and audio clips.
The most prominent attack ad has her on tape from 2002, 2002 that’s like so, let me see if I have it written down on paper, yes here…. it is so 9 or 10 or so years old , saying “don’t draw mi tongue”, followed by, to paraphrase, a claim that she is not afraid of anyone delivered forcefully in patois. I for one believe her, that she is not afraid. The final comment of the voice over in the ad tells us that she is too loud. Now seems to me that says more about the views of the ad conceptualizers on gender and class bias. If a man had said it he’d be tough, it’s the old, assertive man, aggressive woman duality.
In the same ad clips of Simpson are cobbled together to highlight, contradictions and some nonsensical conclusions, but given that it is doctored by editing it may have lost the effect that would have been gained by just finding a string of natural bits of nonsense coming out of the mouth of the P.N.P. leader. If you look hard enough you will find them for all sorts of leaders and others. You betcha, Sarah Palin who ran for vice president with John McCain in the U.S. against Obama, had her credibility and I use the word under duress, eroded by comedienne Tina Fey’s caricature of her, using dialogue that was made up of Palin’s own pronouncements.
Back to the ad, what’s wrong with loud in the right context? Ok I concede, not at 7 am in the morning when you are trying to sleep and the dancehall party is in full swing, but to vaguely borrow something from Shakespeare when it comes to music what’s in a rhythm, is a music more loud and annoying if it is dancehall or soca. Oh and by the way Jamaica is a kind of a loud place, the music is played loud or its not being played, why else do we have speakers that block the road and are in danger of moving your bowels from a hundred yards..
What is now being called the don’t draw mi tongue ad is being discussed and there has been talk of it being pulled from the TV and radio stations, but I keep seeing it and hearing, so someone is probably saying don’t pull my ad but maybe not very loudly.
Former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, was called the Iron Lady for being tough and that did not stop her and her handbag winning a couple of elections and a war.
Another ad features the PNP leader forgetting things and losing sight and grip of her papers it is fun, after all they say it’s better to smile than frown, so who gets the marks for putting a smile on people’s faces. In it, first KD Knight, from her party has a go at her about speaking from papers and then the shot shows her at the podium, the papers blowing away, a gaff a guffaw moment, the answer is blowing in the wind of the air conditioning, so next time use cue cards, heavier paper or nail the speech to the podium with a hammer, the country will not sleep any less easier because we have a chuckle. In another shot, Simpson is flanked by a seemingly sleeping Dr. Peter Phillips and if he looked like he was sleeping and he wasn’t that’s not good and if he was sleeping, well guess the rest, so she stops in mid-sentence not able to recall or say the year and date. Is this lapse something to berate her for? That’s rich, from the party of Mannat memory lapses that’s, now what is the word… ah ironic or is it iconic no its icronic. I blame the rest of the motley crew around the table for not immediately jumping into the gap in sound with the date, instead a muffled off stage whisper of the sought after information. The JLP ad minds, score on the issue of people in the PNP not helping Simpson Miller much, that point is well made.
With friends like Tweedlekd , it’s enough to make a less loud, less tough person, pack herself into her bags and go.
But in the end maybe all it does is give us a little laugh, a titter to twitter about, a foible for Facebook. Does it make people feel any better or worse about Portia, or it could it leave people thinking she is well just more, human and real.
How many points do you score by poking fun at Portia? She is after all Mama P, Sista P, as ready to let fly with words of figurative feminine fury as to embrace people in her customary greeting and unlike Thatcher we have no fear that she will deliver a stinging headshot with her handbag.
The PNPYO have highlighted a number of things in their ads but are probably behind in the most talked about ad race.
One of their ads features the live it down moment of the JLP’s Christopher Tufton on the political platform of a previous campaign, urging people to vote and put the x beside the head, only thing is his is the party of the bell, so hardly a ringing endorsement but how much does it matter now after all he got elected despite that?
Those who cross the political floor are great fodder for the political ad maker, but if Karl Samuda can go from JLP to PNP, and back again and win, even when his not flattering comments in support or each side were extensively aired during campaigns, it may suggest there is more to voting than the meat and the mean of the ads. Although perhaps reversible political t – shirts could be a business idea for next election.
Positive ads may be well, positive but boring, negative ads have a certain plus factor when it comes to entertainment.
There is some room for concern about the ethics of re editing and re – imagining of the footage and words of the various political personalities but there is a another possible effect, message confusion. Like, even when you watch an ad from the beginning, the fact that the green party ad is featuring people in the orange party and vice versa may leave one wondering, so that was a paid political broadcast from which party?
If you are not careful negative ads featuring the other side may have the effect of putting the image and idea other party before viewers and adding to the recall and likeability of the opposing party. Careful what you unleash on the other side it may be the stick that helps them walk to victory instead of the one you figuratively beat them with.
Dont draw mi tongue
Portia’s Papers ad
JLP Duppy stories
Maggies last Party